Educator Spotlight: Meet Yaritza Villalba
History teacher in New York persists with positivity, honesty and heart
This story is part of a weekly series that celebrates outstanding teachers in our Flipgrid community. Stories by Angela Tewalt.
We’re all a little tired right now.
In education and everywhere, we’re pushing ourselves perhaps more than we ever have before. Maybe we’re overwhelmed or anxious. Maybe it’s too lonely or too loud. Maybe we’re all longing for the same thing. Yet, just when we think we’ve reached our limit, we wake up and surprise ourselves once more.
This is turning into a cyclical event – seeking answers and striving still – but it’s because we’re resilient. We’ll continue to be tomorrow, too.
For Yaritza Villalba, a young and ebullient high school teacher in Brooklyn, New York, bravery is on her side. Just like the rest of us, she longs for honest answers and clarity as an unknown school year looms, but her seeking is not without strength.
Yaritza is not only courageous for herself, she is a tireless lion for all of us. She fights beautifully for the answers we seek – boldly encouraging teachers to stand up and innovate with what they do know – and then, when another day passes wearily, she remembers just who she is fighting for, and it’s enough.
“I would hate for a kid’s memory of me to be that teacher who gave up on them,” says Yaritza, who’s been teaching history for 10 years. “If I give up, I’m telling my students that it was impossible to learn. But we are educators, it is our job is to ensure that kids learn, regardless of what is going on around us. I think this is so much bigger than us, and, for me, I will always put the kids first.
“Honestly, if I could choose my legacy, it would literally be that teacher who never gave up, you know?”